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European Court Holds Final Hearing on Georgia vs Russia Case

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, May 25
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) held the final hearing on a high profile, Georgia v Russia case in Strasbourg on Wednesday, concerning Georgia’s allegations to Russia over the sequence of violations during the Russia-Georgia 2008 war and its aftermath.

Georgia’s British lawyer Ben Emerson, a representative of Russian Justice Ministry and the lawyer of the state of Russia addressed a panel of 17 judges.

Members of the Georgian Dream government say that the Georgian side has managed to “perfectly defend” the state interests.

The Georgian Minister for Reconciliation and Civil Equality Ketevan Tsikhelashvili states that the international court will be able to deliver its final verdict in a few months.

“Russia, a member of the Council of Europe, committed a shameful act”, said Emerson after the hearing. "The fragments of missiles were found on the site, which had serial numbers confirming their Russian origin. The Russian side insisted that it was fake information and part of anti-Russian propaganda” he added.

Georgia’s Deputy Minister of Justice Gocha Lortkipanidze said after the hearing that it was an uncompromising, struggle for fairness and justice.

“This case will be important not only for Georgia but for other conflicts within Europe – in Ukraine and Moldova. Instead of arguments from the Russian side, we have heard a fake narrative about history and the only answer is as if Georgia has presented false evidence, which is a conspiracy against the Russian Federation.

“All this indicates that the Russian Federation had no argument at all today”, Lortkipanidze said.

The judge representing Georgia in the court in previous years Nona Tsotsoria says that the ECHR is facing a “big challenge” because the case is very complex and difficult.

“Today is truly historic day not only for Georgia but for Europe and the court itself. I am convinced that the Court will cope with this challenge,” Tsotsoria stated after the hearing session.

During the previous hearings the court heard 33 witnesses in total: 16 summoned through the Georgian Government, 11 through the Government of Russia and six directly by the court.

This case raises issues under articles which concern the right to life, prohibition of torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, the right to liberty and security, the right to respect for private and family life, the right to an effective remedy.